Why is Sleep So Important to Wellbeing?
There’s a lot more to sleep than you realise.
Sure, a bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling worse for wear the next day, but sleep deprivation has a much wider impact on your health and wellbeing than just everyday tiredness.
And the problem is, as a society we are sleeping less than we’ve ever done before. Technology is slowly creeping into our bedrooms, screens and games and TV and work are increasingly eating into the time that we’d traditionally put aside for rest.
As we’re about to explain, the problem with a lack of sleep goes far beyond needing a coffee to kickstart your day. Here are a few of the ways that poor sleep can affect you, along with some of our very own suggestions for better rest. The message is clear: Let’s sleep more!
Sleep and Weight Gain
Did you know that there’s a positive correlation between lack of recuperation and weight gain? This could mean that, for all your efforts in the gym, not sleeping enough could be holding back your quest to get in shape.
There are a couple of telltale signs here. The first is that people with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. But don’t just take our word for it! Check out studies here and here for more information on that.
The bottom line is that not sleeping enough is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.
So why might this be? Well, other studies have shown that people who sleep less tend to have more of an appetite, while a lack of sleep can also impact hormones and our motivation to exercise.
Trying to lose weight? Then you should know that getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.
What the Maitri team suggests
Many people don’t realise the importance of sleep when it comes to weight gain. You might eat healthily and exercise often, but not be seeing the positive results you expected. The key is to take a more holistic approach to your lifestyle and make sure that your lack of sleep isn’t sabotaging your efforts to live more healthily.
Having trouble getting to sleep at night? Check out our products dedicated to sleep support.
Sleep and Mood
It seems like an obvious thing to say, but did you know that a lack of sleep can seriously effect your mood?
Speaking to WebMD, Jodi Mindell, PhD, a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and author of Sleep Deprived No More, talked about how less sleep affects our hormones, emotions and behaviour:
“Not getting enough sleep affects your emotional regulation,” says Mindell. “When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to snap at your boss, or burst into tears, or start laughing uncontrollably.”
There’s no doubt that your mood in turn can have an impact on your life. The examples Mindell uses above are clear enough. A lack of sleep can cause you to be tough to be around, whether you’re generally unstable emotionally, or just downright cranky.
This can have a negative impact on your relationships, your performance at work and your general self-esteem.
What the Maitri team suggests
If you find that your mood is being affected by tiredness, as well trying to get more rest into your routine, think about ways that you can boost your mood more generally and grab a hold of your emotions. Start a fulfilling new hobby, take time out to relax and recuperate – why not try meditation?
Sleep and Productivity
We’ve all been there. You’ve got a load of work to do but a late night has kept you stick in first gear. You’re struggling to concentrate, deadlines are whooshing by and you’re far from operating at 100%.
There’s plenty of science to back up the idea that a lack of rest leads to lower levels of concentration. We all know that sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. So let’s untangle this.
These vital brain functions include cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. Studies have shown that these are all negatively affected by sleep deprivation. A lack of sleep impacts on our ability to problem solve. It makes it more likely that we’ll make mistakes – even when working in life or death situations!
There’s evidence that suggests that only getting a small amount of kip has similar effects on brain function to alcohol intoxication.
And then of course there’s proof in the other direction. If we sleep enough our problem-solving skills are proven to improve, our memory is enhanced and productivity goes up.
The bottom line is this: not getting enough sleep makes you a worse person. You’ll be worse at making difficult decisions, have less ability to concentrate, remember, solve problems and react to challenges.
What the Maitri team suggests
Are you finding that your cognitive function is being limited because you don’t get enough sleep? We obviously recommend that you get more sleep. But if you’re not in a position to alter your sleeping schedule just yet, why not consider cognitive supplements to boost your mental abilities?
Sleep and Immune Function
Sleep, just like stress and anxiety, is proven to be an important factor in healthy immune system function. In fact, even a small drop in healthy sleep levels has been shown to weaken the immune system.
This can leave people who sleep less more exposed to infections, right the way through from the common cold to more serious illnesses.
One extensive two-week study found that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. That’s a major difference.
Constantly struck down by colds and sniffles? Consider getting a few more hours rest.
The Maitri team suggests…
Feel constantly run down and susceptible to illness? If you’re not in a position to add a few more hours sleep to your routine, consider taking some supplements to boost your immune system. Or eat more fruit and vegetables containing Vitamin C, like oranges.